4 Trades the Cardinals Should Investigate

The Cardinals have done little to address their #1 need: The Lineup. Cardinal bats were very inconsistent last year and struggled to find their rhythm. With Marcell Ozuna on the market and unlikely to come back, they need to find a middle of the lineup bat while also unclogging the outfield picture. Here are 4 trades that can do that.

Acquire Nolan Arenado: Arenado give the Cardinals something they have lacked since Albert Pujols left – A superstar. While Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday, and Paul Goldschmidt have worn the birds on the bat, none have gone into the upper echelon of players like Pujols. Arenado could be that player.

He’s costly, both in terms of money and players in return. The Cardinals have what it takes to get it done. #2 prospect in the system Nolan Gorman would be the starting point; if the Cardinals were to acquire Arenado, third base would be taken for a while (pending he doesn’t opt out). The system also has Elhuris Montero and Malcom Nunez in the pipeline at the position.

They’d need more. A pitcher like Ryan Helsley or Jake Woodford would be included; while both have upside, they are both blocked in the rotation and pretty easily replaced in the bullpen. We could also include one of our MLB ready outfielders; I believe Tyler O’Neill would be a monster at Coors Field. Offer him, Harrison Bader, or Lane Thomas. I’d also see about including one of Daniel Poncedeleon and Austin Gomber.

To round out the deal, I’d insist that Matt Carpenter be included. We’d need to balance out some of the salary we’d be taking on and Carpenter would be displaced in the field by Arenado.

Final Deal: Gorman, Woodford, O’Neill, Poncedeleon, Carpenter for Arenado.

Check Seattle about Kyle Seager and Mitch Haniger: Seattle is in some kind of weird, sort of rebuilding mold and is known to be looking to dump some salary. They made a bunch of deals last off-season to do this and could continue to do so (in fact, it’s a little scary that Jerry DiPoto hasn’t done much dealing this winter). There is also a history of deals between the 2 teams (Marco Gonzales for O’Neill, taking Mike Leake off our hands, etc).

Seager is a left-handed bat, which the team needs, and Haniger is a semi-proven option in the corner outfield (is 2019 was shortened by injury). With Seager, you won’t be getting elite production, but he’s a solid hitter with better defense then you currently have in Carpenter. Haniger is the real acquisition here; he broke out in 2018 during his first full season, but saw his numbers drop as he dealt with injury in 2019. He’s a guy the team could build around for a few seasons (not-Pujols level, but more younger Holliday).

I’d start off by offering Carpenter again; he’d benefit by being able to DH and spend some time at third for the departed Seager. I’d then throw a few prospects in. The Mariners are always looking for pitching, so including 1 of Woodford, Poncedeleon and Gomber; all could slot into their rotation now. The Mariners are also needing a long-term option at catcher; with another season of Yadier Molina not relinquishing playing time, Andrew Knizner gets stuck stagnating at Memphis for another season (while adding that with the emergence of Ivan Herrera as a potential heir to Yadi). I’d also include an outfielder from the previous package; O’Neill might not be as appealing since they traded him to us, but they could have more interest in Bader or Thomas.

Final deal: Carpenter, Woodford, Knizner, Bader for Seager and Haniger.

Make a play for Mookie Betts: this would be rental and not a long term fix, because Betts is going to test the market after the season. He’d also be an expensive addition since he’s projected to make well over $27M in his final trip through arbitration.

It would be hard to justify a top guy like Gorman or Dylan Carlson for 1 year of Betts; but you could start with a guy in the next tier: Montero would be a good start. Again, you’d have to go with some of your MLB ready pitching (Poncedeleon, Gomber, Woodford, Helsley); say 2 of those guys would have to be in the package. They’d want a replacement for Betts, so O’Neill, Thomas, Bader, or Randy Arozarena would have to be included. Then you start adding lower prospects; Luken Baker would be a good fit as a lower level power hitting 1B/DH type.

You could make it even more complicated by trying to add David Price and his large contract to the mix; have them take back a contract like Carpenter (who would be hard to get into the lineup since J.D. Martinez is already entrenched as the DH) or Dexter Fowler.

Final Deal: Montero, Helsley, Poncedeleon, Arozarena, Baker, 1 PTBNL for Betts

Alternative Deal: Montero, Helsley, Poncedeleon, Arozarena, Baker, Carpenter, 2 PTBNL for Betts and Price.

Go all in for Francisco Lindor: Lindor is more complicated than Betts since he has an additional year of control and the Indians want players back rather than salary relief. The teams have worked out deals in the past, and they seem to like Oscar Mercado, who they got in the last deal between He’d also make the infield as complicated as the outfield is right now. You would have to move Paul DeJong in the deal, or include Kolten Wong and slide DeJong to second. I really don’t like either option.

So start with DeJong or Wong; I’d throw Tommy Edman in the mix as well, but the fan-base would revolt after the debut he had (he’s the one I’d prefer to move, but I don’t see if happening). They need pitching depth and outfield help, which the Cardinals have. You are looking at a package of many of the same players already mentioned. Gorman would have to be include, and they’d ask for Carlson as well; I’d only give up Gorman. 2 of the 4 already mentioned pitchers would be included; the Indians need quality pitching depth. Then you’d have to send some outfield help; Arozarena and O’Neill would probably have to be included here.

Final package: DeJong, Gorman, Helsley, Gomber, Arozarena, O’Neill for Francisco Lindor.

Any of these deals would make the Cardinals better and allow them to keep Carlson, their top prospect. I included Gorman in most of these deals because I think his strikeouts and defense will keep him from being elite; I still like my Joey Gallo comp from a year ago.

All of these deals are pretty far fetched. They’ve made some deals in the last 2 winters, but I don’t see them pulling any of these off.

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: